I hadn’t even read the books or watched more than the first movie but this Harry Potter tour was so much fun that I’m suddenly a huge fan!
I received complimentary press passes for this attraction, however all opinions are my own.
I have to admit that I’m not (or at least I wasn’t) a big Harry Potter fan. Not that I had anything against Harry Potter…I actually enjoyed the first movie. I just never had time to read any of the books and I didn’t get around to watching any of the sequels. However, when I was planning my recent trip to London, I read about the Harry Potter Warner Brother’s Studio Tour and knew my nephews, both big Harry Potter fans, would jump at the chance to go. Since my in-laws were putting me up while I was there (or putting up with me, depending on how you look at it), it was the least I could do!
For more than ten years, the Harry Potter movies were filmed on this sound stage just north of London and they saved most of the props, sets and costumes. Once the final movie wrapped, the production crew couldn’t just get rid of all these things that they had put their heart and soul into and so the idea for the studio tour was born. It opened in 2012 and judging from the day I was there, it has become a very popular attraction!
There is a lot to see and we were told that the tour could take anywhere from three hours to an entire day. The line to get in was long but moved quickly. You also get a small peek at Harry Potter’s room under the stairs while you wait. Once you get in, your first stop is a small theater where you’ll see a short video about how the Harry Potter books and movies have become so popular around the world. It was a good way to begin because it got you super excited about the rest of the tour!Check out the ultimate Harry Potter Studio Tour...you'll be in Hogwarts heaven! Click To Tweet
The next stop is the Grand Hall and it really is as big as you’d think! It was pretty cool to see so many things from the actual movie, like place settings, costumes and the sorting hat!
As you continue on the tour, you’ll see a lot more from the movies. In fact, almost as soon as I started the tour, I was completely drawn in to “Harry Potter World” and immediately wished that I’d read all the books and seen the movies. Even if you haven’t, it won’t matter because the tour is pretty impressive!
Ice Sculpture from the Yule Ball
The gate to Hogwarts
Harry Potter’s Hogwart’s bedroom
Harry Potter’s glasses…gotta admit, I loved seeing these. They’re iconic!
I wouldn’t mind having my own invisibility cloak…it might come in handy sometimes! They made the inside of the cloak green so that the visual effects crew could make Harry and friends invisible during post production.
I’m not sure what this hallway is but I loved the effect (if you know what it’s called, feel free to let me know in the comments).
It was fun to check out the sets and you can tell how much work went into each one…the detail was amazing!
Gryffindor common room
The Potions Classroom
The Hogwarts Express was one of my favorites. Located at Platform 9 3/4, the platform has been reassembled to look just like it did in the movie. You can also board the train and check out the inside for yourself. My nephews loved the train cabin with the special interactive screen. They had fun interacting with scenes from the movie as they flashed by in the window (try to catch the chocolate frog). You’ll also see the luggage trolley as it disappears through the yellow brick wall and you can have fun trying to determine which luggage belongs to which character.
About halfway through, the tour winds through a restaurant/cafe where you can have lunch and order a Butterbeer. Of course we had to order one (this is one of only three places in the world that sell them) and it was a sweet, frothy drink that tasted nothing like butter or beer. They say it’s closer to a butterscotch and shortbread combination…hmm, not bad but I think I’ll stick with real beer. My nephews loved it though and you can’t go on the tour without trying one!
From the restaurant, the tour continues outside where you can check out the Knight Bus, which was put together using three vintage London double deckers.
If you’re a fan, you already know that Number 4 Privet Drive was where Harry was raised by relatives after his parents died.
Godric’s Hollow, where Harry lived when his parents were still alive.
Next, the tour takes you through special effects…
Even though I wasn’t familiar with it, Diagon Alley was pretty cool! Everything was whimsical and fun and unlike anything I’d ever seen before!
By this point in the tour, I was ready to order the entire set of books and binge watch all the movies! The tour was that good! You are only seeing a tiny portion of what they have here but there’s no way I could post all the pictures that I took. However, what I didn’t know is that I hadn’t even gotten to the best part! For the grand finale, you are taken to a “miniature” replica of Hogwarts, which is not very miniature at all! This was by far my favorite part of the tour and all you have to do is look at the pictures to see why!
This model was made for the first film and is hand sculpted to 1:24 scale. They used digital enhancements to make the courtyard, tower and turrets look more realistic for the movie, but honestly, I thought it looked pretty realistic already! You can look at the people on the lower left to get a feel for just how big this thing really is.
Real gravel was used for the rocks and boulders and they used real plants for landscaping and trees.
You can take a walk over a life size (partial) replica of this bridge outside.
Every few minutes they dim the lights and you can see Hogwarts lit up with over 300 lights simulating lanterns, torches and other lighting…so pretty!
Well, guess who’s a Harry Potter fan now? If I loved this tour without knowing much about the books and movies, I would imagine that real fans would be in Harry Potter heaven! If you’re planning a trip to London anytime soon, this is one tour you won’t want to miss…and don’t forget to order the Butterbeer!
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